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Dogwood Winter

by | Apr 7, 2014

When I was a girl, we had the novelty of an April Fool’s Day snowstorm. As if the calendar date weren’t unusual enough, the snow was memorable in that it fell on fully-unfurled dogwood blossoms. Up until that day, I had thought of dogwood blossoms as white. That day, the brilliant white of the snow rendered each dogwood petal a dingy brown.

This week I learned the word for that event: Dogwood Winter. That long-ago winter had gone away just long enough for the dogwoods to open in warm spring sunshine. Then it turned and circled back to dump snow on the blossoms.

Cold as this year has been, I wouldn’t call it a Dogwood Winter. On April Fool’s Day 2014, every single bud on my dogwood trees was a tiny gray knob. If it had snowed, there would have been no petals to catch the snowflakes.

Even now, a week later, the dogwoods have only opened this much:


It may have been a very cold season, but now we are skipping Dogwood Winter and going straight into spring. Here’s how I know:

The violets are blooming in mossy crannies


The japonica is red. These were among the first spring flowers my mother would cut from her gigantic bushes and bring inside to open.


My yellow flowers are thriving. I ordered a few of these bulbs 40 years ago and they are more beautiful this year than ever.


Periwinkle is carpeting the ground. There is no more beautiful color.


From now on, I won’t be able to take my morning walk around the yard without bringing something back inside with me. A favorite place to arrange favorite flowers is this little magnetic vase that sticks to the refrigerator. Today a green amaryllis is featured with pink camellias and the last fragrant blue hyacinth—divine artwork joining childish paintings in that humble art gallery.